Category Archives: Dead Space

Dead Space 3 Review

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Can Isaac Clark survive a third round with the Necromorph scourge?

Dead Space 3 is an amazingly great game in spite of a few, yet obvious flaws. Its superb combat and addictive collecting and upgrade mechanics are great additions to the franchise, however the game is plagued by it’s constant errand running, and rather bland story along with a strong sense of deja vu that make up the better half of its nineteen chapter adventure.Despite these flaws, just with the previous entries, I can’t stop playing. .

Dead Space 3 also marks the first game where  co-op is an option. (Player 2 taking control of Sgt. John Carver) Very few games boast a rich atmosphere as Dead Space 3. Visceral Game’s engine easily renders everything in crystalline clarity. The eerily depth of space stretches out in differently in a haze which channels the spirit of the 80’s sci-fi and horror films while the snow and ice driven terrain of Tau Volantis pays homage to John Carpenter’s The Thing.

The music and sound design are top notch along with the visuals. They support each other well enough with traces back to classic genre soundtracks from Brian May (The Road Warrior), James Horner (Alien), and Hans Zimmer (The Dark Knight Trilogy). The voice acting is also done really well.

When it was announced that Dead Space 3 would have co-op, many fans were fearful that this meant that the series were moving away from its horror roots and to the more mainstream stage of action-thriller. Playing in co-op erodes the sense of isolation, but the lingering feelings of dread and scares remain intact. For those who don’t want nor care about playing in co-op, they can still have a relatively faithful Dead Space experience. The game responds pretty decent to the addition of a second player which will definitely come in handy in some of the more difficult encounters and boss fights. Carver’s presence also introduces some new lines of dialogue as well as a bunch of great optional co-op missions that explore his very tragic past. These co-op missions are some of the best parts of the overarching story and it makes me wish why Visceral didn’t put it as an option that you could do Carver’s back-story alone instead of on co-op.

Just like in the first two games, the combat reigns supreme in Dead Space 3. The combat is physical, vicious, and feral. The strategic dismemberment concept is the Dead Space franchise’s bread and butter. Even if you’ve played the first two games, Dead Space 3’s combat is still some of the most unique and satisfying of this generation.

Perhaps one of the most intriguing additions to Dead Space 3 is crafting and upgrading system. Gone are the days where you’d buy your weapons and ammo and health items at a store. This new concept really adds to the combat experience. The player will constantly be on the look out for new parts and resources to either build a new weapon, or upgrade their existing one. These decisions on what the player chooses to do makes for terrific tension all on its own. These new systems work together in a way that it creates a reward structure in which you’ll want to come back to.

Like I previously mentioned, Dead Space 3’s story feels bland and forced. Isaac has retreated from society, left his new girlfriend, and turned his back on the fight against the Unitologists and their markers. Yet when he finds out that Ellie is in trouble that is what propels him forward to fight on. Why now and why not earlier when she called and left a dozen different messages for him? This is the introduction to a fairly boring and uninteresting love triangle along with a series of far-fetched events. I will not go into spoiler territory but there is no way that with what the player discovers on Tau Volantis would go unnoticed for 200 years which could’ve helped the fight against the markers and the necromorphs. The writers must have noticed this because there’s an entire prologue trying to sell this single plot point. Also things seem to conveniently fall into place when Isaac and his team start to piece everything together in the second half of the game.

In addition to this stumbling story, Visceral has seemed to have backtracked to the original game as most of the progression is spent doing chores and errands. Isaac just can’t catch a break as whatever could go wrong, does go wrong and the solution is almost always either finding some lost item in a building on the other side of where you are. This structure feels so similar in routine and weakness of the original, at times Dead Space 3 feels more like Dead Space 1 all over again.

This shows that Visceral really didn’t have anything new to add to the lore or story. Isaac is a broken shell of his former self and this results in him being flat and rather bland throughout the majority of the game with very little development. Instead of some clever game-play that we saw in Dead Space 2, like the straightjacket intro or the grueling and horrific eyeball needle sequence. We’re instead treated to a bunch of mediocre mini-games and fetch quests. Other nagging issues include a reoccurring boss fight with a creature in which you must fight on three separate occasions. a terrible, and rather awkward fight against an angry drill, and an extremely generic final boss fight. Considering the elegance, sophistication, and lore of the world, combat and upgrade/crafting mechanics, it’s a shame that everything else feels rather meh.

The combat system and the world that Visceral has created in Dead Space 3 is so expertly woven and built that I found myself overlooking my main critiques and complaints because I thoroughly enjoyed playing it. This is a very important distinction to make: loving a game while being aware of its faults. Dead Space 3, when played the way I have, on New Game+ is an engrossing and satisfying experience. However it requires ignoring the bland story and the numbing to do lists. It only then becomes about building up the most powerful, best outfitted Isaac that you can imagine. Dead Space 3 may stumble and even fall down on itself sometimes, but it learns on how to pick it self back up in the aspects of combat, and upgrading/crafting.

Rating: 8/10

Contributor: [Adam Buskirk]

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Dead Space 2 Review

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Isaac Clarke is back and he’s in double the trouble as he faces an even more deadly onslaught from a new Necromorph outbreak.

For a sequel, Dead Space 2 hits the ball out of the park, in terms of continuing the story as well as the scares from the original. When i beat the game for the first time, my mind was racing as I began to dissect everything that I had just experienced and I couldn’t be more enthralled.

Dead Space 2 takes place three years after the events of the first game, yet Isaac can’t seem to catch even the tiniest break. In the beginning, he wakes up aboard the Sprawl, a space station that has been built on Titan, one of Saturn’s moons. The Sprawl itself is in the middle of it’s own Necromorph outbreak. From the very first moments, Isaac is already back to fighting for his own survival.

Playing as Isaac once more, the players will pick up the trusty plasma cutter, don an engineering suit, and attempt to locate and destroy the religious artifact known as the Marker which just like in the first Dead Space, has brought about the Necromorph scourge once more. Unlike Kratos from the God of War franchise who can mow down enemies without breaking a sweat, Isaac is far to damage due in part from not only his experience on the Ishimura but by also the guilt he feels at being partly responsible for his girlfriend Nicole Brennan’s death aboard the Ishimura.

Isaac’s guilt is tearing apart his very sanity and driving him mad. Which in turn makes for a very intriguing story. Isaac is keen on not letting any survivors that he comes in contact with that he’s becoming unhinged, So while playing it, I got to see who he really is and what he’s like. Because in Dead Space 2, unlike in the first game, Isaac actually speaks which is a very welcoming change as Isaac’s internal conversations and hallucinations were some of my favorite parts of the game.

However I have many favorite parts of Dead Space 2. Behind Isaac’s struggle sits the amazing combat, as it’s satisfying now more then ever. Isaac is faster and lighter on his feet then before. You can stomp on crates faster to gather more ammo or health items. Isaac’s melee attacks are also faster and stronger as well. Using Kinesis and Stasis is ten times more fun and effective as it was in the first game. It gets so gratifying while also extremely fun when you slow down an attacking Necromorph, and then proceed to remove one of it’s claws, only to shoot it back, pinning it to a wall is not only cool but also satisfying.

Thankfully, Visceral cut out all stuff that made the first game chug along, (the backtracking, getting disoriented, etc.)  What you end up with is a game that is not only fast-paced, but also scary and suspenseful all at the same time. You’re rushed down these corridors, needing to get from point A to point B and a Necromorph will pop out for you to kill. I know a lot of people, don’t necessarily like it when a game is linear, but in Dead Space 2 it works well.

I’ve played the game several times over, and each time, i find myself never growing bored. Dead Space 2 brings back the classic weapons such as the saw-spitting Ripper, and even introduces new ones, like the javelin gun which fires projectiles which not only pin enemies to surfaces, but along with delivering an electric shock thanks to its alternate fire mode. Just like in the first game, these weapons, along with your suit, and kinesis/stasis modules can be upgraded for max damage and resistance. Your progress can also be saved and carried over to a new play-through which in itself is a great thing, because its these that were keeping me coming back to play it again. Plus there are new suits and other bonuses that can be unlocked as well.

When it was announced that Dead Space 2 would have more action then in the first game, some die-hard fans threw big time hissy fits, yet the action and horror are blended perfectly that I couldn’t complain. Isaac feels like a complete bad-ass here, as he should. He’s not only fought these monsters before, as well as use these weapons before, but he’s LIVED through this nightmare and survived. The first game, showed him as an engineer tossed into a nightmare. This time around, he’s the guy who has lost everything he ever held dear to these monsters, so he has nothing more to loose as he does his best to bring them down, Isaac is stronger here which in turn made me feel stronger as I played.

If you’re as big as a fan as I am, there’s even a “Hardcore” mode which will make you suffer and chuck your controllers at the wall in anger and disgust that you even attempted to even try this difficulty. On “Hardcore” the enemies are at their toughest, supplies are scarce and there are no checkpoints. If you die, you restart at your last save, oh and by the way you only get three of them. This makes it extremely difficult, but those who like a challenge are more then welcome to give it a shot.

The over arching  story of Isaac combating his demons is a great on. And while some might find the whole quest to find and destroy the marker a little bland, they are both sides of the same coin. Dead Space 2 is also the first game in the series to have a multiplayer component, however I can’t say much about it because I have yet to touch that portion. Basically the multiplayer consists of two teams; the humans and the necromorphs. The human team has an objective while all the necromorph team has to do is stop the human team. Pretty basic but playing as a necromorph sounds like a lot of fun.

Dead Space 2 is more then a survivor horror game interwoven with bits of action. It tells a personal story about a man who becomes horrendously scarred by the events around him. That synopsis alone should make a horror fan even remotely interested. Visceral is able to mend this story with rewarding combat, insanely horrifying enemies, and huge set pieces. While the multiplayer sounds the bare basic, and part of the story may seem a little meh, the shocking moments and gruesome deaths and just the sheer fun are the important things to take away.

Rating: 9.8/10

Contributor:[Adam Buskirk]